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Home / frontnfl / The Giants Front Office Missed On Saquon Barkley
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

The Giants Front Office Missed On Saquon Barkley


The first-ever episode of Hard Knocks: Offseason featuring the New York Giants gave a look at the franchise’s thinking led by general manager Joe Schoen during the 2024 offseason. A theme that headlined the first episode and will figure heavily at least into next week’s chapter was the status of star running back Saquon Barkley.

 

While discussing Barkley, it seemed the front office was almost entirely in agreement that they would not be re-signing the former No. 2 overall pick.

 

The two people that questioned the wisdom of letting Barkley test the market (and likely walk) were team owner John Mara, who gave some relatively soft pushback to Schoen during a one-on-one meeting; and director of player personnel Tim McDonnell, who asked what the Giants’ identity will be on offense without Saquon.

 

It should be noted that Barkley and the team had testy negotiations last offseason, with the explosive talent eventually agreeing to a revised one-year deal to play under in 2023. So, Schoen did not want to be in a similar situation and decided to allow Barkley to test the market, deeming it fair to him.

 

But ultimately, the front office was approaching Barkley’s standing with the team from the perspective of dollars and cents. As they noted, having a $40 million quarterback in Daniel Jones makes it more challenging to retain other talent. However, Barkley—when he was on the field, as he has dealt with numerous injuries over the years—was an undeniable impact player for New York. He could strike fear into defenses and can do a ton of things for an offense and squad.

 

In the case of a homegrown difference-maker that’s a great leader and arguably your best player overall, you should probably not worry so much about saving a few million dollars per year and deeming that player easily replaceable just because he plays a position that the consensus narrative (perhaps incorrectly, as is the case with many things) deems is not worth spending on.

 

There was a clip online from a future episode where Schoen appeared somewhat upset on the phone with Saquon while asking if they aren’t going to be able to match the offer. I’m looking forward to the insight we get into the situation. Maybe the Giants did want him back after he tested the market.

 

In the end, Barkley stayed within the NFC East and signed with the Eagles. His new teammates A.J. Brown took exception to how Barkley was discussed by the Giants front office, posting on X about it:

 

 

I don’t think the Giants front office was totally disrespectful, but Brown’s stance speaks to the standpoint the group took toward one of their most important players in years.

 

Furthermore, the talk of Barkley’s age (turned 27 in February) and Schoen holding the opinion that there’s a cliff for running backs at that age might turn out to be misguided. For someone of Barkley’s ability, you should arguably look past things like how running back is valued by the consensus and twenty-seven being a taboo age.

 

At his best, Barkley is a potential game-changing type of weapon, which is why the Eagles decided to take a shot on him with a three-year, $37.75 million contract during free agency. You can argue that Christian McCaffrey (28) is on another level to most, but the 49ers are another team that’s invested in running back with him.

 

Interestingly, we didn’t yet hear inside thoughts from head coach Brian Daboll on whether to re-sign Barkley. Also, the Giants were eventually able to acquire star pass rusher Brian Burns and sign him to a massive contract extension.

 

New defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, coming over from the Titans, was an intriguing hire and has pieces to work with headlined by Burns, Dexter Lawrence, and Kayvon Thibodeaux up front. That group will be tasked with stopping Barkley twice a year and helping the Giants get back on track as a squad.

 

As for Barkley, he’ll now have an opportunity behind a top offensive line in Philadelphia to show that he’s more than the position he plays.